Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Say Vagina, Stop the Violence! By Amanda Richter

This Sunday marks the twelfth year of the V-Day Movement. The V-Day Movement began in 1998 with college campuses across the United States putting on a production of the Vagina Monologues: A Memory, a Rant, and a Prayer, originally written by Eve Ensler. Since that time, the V-Day Movement has grown to include countries such as China, Brazil, and South Africa. V-Day focuses not only on the incidence of rape and sexual assault, but also female genital mutilation and the emergence of women’s rights in third world countries.

In 2009, a new production was featured entitled, Any One of Us: Words from Prison, which reveals the connection between incarcerated women and the violence that usually brings them there. The play is a collection of stories from incarcerated women around the world. The Monologues now also includes stories by transgender women.

I am proud to say I was part of the V-Day movement when I was an undergrad at the University of North Texas. We would spend months preparing the play, as well as spreading awareness throughout the campus. We had a lot of opposition from right-wing conservatives who stated the play was pornographic in nature (even though none of them had ever actually seen it). We even made pussy pillows and had artwork to sell at the event. In 2002, the Feminist Majority Leadership Alliance, UNT Chapter, won an award for raising the most money. All of our proceeds were donated to local women’s shelters.

If you have never taken part or seen the Monologues, I highly recommend it. I make it a point to try and see at least one production every year on Valentine’s Day (I even took my boyfriend to see it with me last year). It is a powerful play and reminds all of us that violence against women happens daily and we cannot stop our work in addressing this problem until it ends….

V stands for Valentine, Victory, and VAGINA!!!!!

To find out where the nearest V-Day event is in your hometown, please go to www.events.vday.org.

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